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May 19, 2011 02:00 PM

Apple Jack (Fried Pie) at Nothin’ Fancy Cafe in Edenton

When I stepped up to the counter to pay my dinner bill, I noticed an array of wax paper-wrapped fried pies. The cashier said that a local lady makes them for the café, a retired woman named Helen. She explained that they’re a Southern tradition called “Jacks” and that apple was the original version. They’re also available in sweet potato and peach and sell for $2.50 each.

This went home with me to try later. Fortunately, I’d put it in a ziplock bag before packing it in my luggage, as the wax paper soaked through with oil. We heated it in the toaster oven to perk it up. The rolled edge crimp seems unique, and it’s a extra touch as other fried pies mostly have a crimp pressed in with a fork. The intense apple filling was barely sweet and had just a kiss of cinnamon. The fruit seemed firmish, and later I learned that this was made the traditional way with dried apples.

Maybe I was thinking about Edna Lewis and her concern that people would forget how to cook with lard. The very tender and flakey pastry tasted lard-based to me, or maybe it was fried in lard, but I wasn’t quite certain. I called the café to see if that might be the case. The lady at the other end didn’t know and in fact she doubted it as lard is little used anymore. But we did have a nice conversation about “Jacks”, a simple treat made with biscuit dough and dried apples. She did not know the origin of the name and has been trying to learn more about it herself. If anyone can fill us in, please post.

Deep-fried apple pie called a "Jack"

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How to make fried apple pies (cooked in lard

A recipe for Fried Apple Jack Pies

Southern Foodways Alliance documentary, “& Fried Pies”

Old Southern Fried Jack Pie Mix

Nothin Fancy Cafe & Market
701 N Broad St, Edenton, NC 27932

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  1. Melanie,
    I am actually sitting in a hotel in Edenton debating my dinner choices!
    Apple Jack aside, how was the food at NFC?

    5 Replies
    1. re: Tee

      I liked it a lot. Good home style country cooking. Many sides and specials on the Saturday I was there, and inexpensive.

      I also looked at River House, which replaced Mac's, and wasn't so entranced nor the seafood place on the road to the fairgrounds. I also liked Luna's Market in Hertford, not open every day.

      Boarding a plane now...

      Luna's Market
      960 Pender Rd, Hertford, NC 27944

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        thanks. i ended up at watermans grill, again. i have been to the river house, and found it to be just ok. have a good flight!

        1. re: Tee

          How was Waterman's Grill?

          I'm back in severe weather territory again. Thunderstorms and the tornado warning has another hour to go.

          Waterman's Grill
          427 S Broad St, Edenton, NC 27932

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            About like it always is, just ok. I like sitting at the bar , and usually the conversation far outshines the food. Last Thursday had the red snapper special and their corn pudding. The fish was ok, but bland. I spent my meal in conversation and it became an afterthought. I had inedible fried oysters ( huge wad of breading with offtasting oysters) served last winter, and I told myself I would not go back, but I enjoy a post meal stroll and the location is perfect for that.

            1. re: Tee

              Here's my post on dinner at the Cafe, in case you're back in Edenton again.

              I'm still trying to write-up the rest of my meals!

    2. I know im probably late to this post but I love,apple hacks, im from NC originally Johnston county, my granny use to make apple jacks I love them so much, I remember she used her own apples from her tree,and dried them out and rehydrated them, my granny did cheat with the crust part sadly she uses biscuits from a can I hold my head in shame lol anyways I also use,to get them at mule days when the church ladies sold them, their delicious im going to attempt them this weekend wish me,luck

      1 Reply
      1. re: gracesmum92

        Luck! Thanks for telling us about them. And made me think that I should dry the apples still hanging on our tree and try my hand at making apple jacks too. I can use biscuits from a can to start.